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2007 Kentucky Summer Classic Horse Show Wrap Up

Lexington, KY - August 13, 2007 - The Kentucky Summer Classic Horse Show wrapped up on August, 12, at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. Produced by Kentucky Horse Shows LLC, the Kentucky Summer Classic was held from August 8-12.

Jumper Highlights Wednesday through Friday

On August 8, 2007, John McConnell rode in the 1.45m Open Jumper class aboard Carolina. After a tie occurred between three riders with first round scores of four faults, Carolina proved to be the winning combination with McConnell. The pair stayed in the arena to complete the jump-off after finishing their first round. Neither Rory Grand nor Jeanne Hobbs, the other four-faulters, returned to the Johnson Arena for their jump-offs, proving McConnell's strong jump-off round of zero faults and time of 48.205 seconds a moot point as he walked out of the ring with first place.

McConnell entered the show ring coming off a second-place win last week in the $40,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix with Carolina. Carolina, the eight-year-old Holsteiner mare, is owned by Klein Ranch of Sedalia, CO, and was imported last April. "I've had her for a little over a year now," he commented, "she's stepping up and doing the grand prix a little now; she was second last weekend."

As early morning temperatures hovered near 90, jump crew and arena maintenance personnel were hard-pressed to set the course for the 1.40m Open Jumper division. Staff completed the task in 15 minutes and sent the first horse into the ring.

Robert Kraut of Oconomowoc, WI, rode Accordian, owned by Happy Hill Farm, to a clear round in 65.465 seconds. His score would set the standard for the remainder of the division, a standard that was never topped. Shane Sweetnam of Wellington, FL, came the closest with a clear round of 66.793 seconds aboard Victor III. Victor III is owned by Spy Coast Farm out of Setauket, NY. Sweetnam proved good enough for second place, giving Kraut the win.

On August 9, it was an early start at the Kentucky Summer Classic for the fourth round of the Hagyard Challenge Series, with the sun barely making it over the horizon. The first horse took to the Johnson Arena at 7:30 a.m., starting off the scheduled field of 36. With the first three riders pulling rails, Debbie Stephens of Palmetto, FL, tackled the challenging course and became the first rider of the day to finish with zero faults. Stephens was equally impressive in the jump-off, where she navigated All Star, owned by Centennial Farm, to the only clean jump-off trip of the day.

Out of 36 starting entries, only eight riders mastered the first course without fault. The field of eight was later narrowed to seven when Kim Prince and Carnivale did not return for their jump-off round, guaranteeing Prince eighth place.

Stephens brought three horses to the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, including Quik, the horse she rode to a first place finish a week ago in the first $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic. Her mount All Star would prove to be the only horse with the athletic ability required to navigate the final combination of the course, which was used in both the first round and the jump-off. The pair completed the short course without fault in 38.552 seconds.

"I didn't think I'd win," she explained, "because I know he's not a fast horse, and I looked at the field behind me and said 'way faster.' I was hoping that maybe the top riders would go too fast and have a rail, and I would maybe place 3rd or 4th. I would have been very pleased with that because he jumped great."

When asked what drew her to the Kentucky Summer Classic and the Hagyard Challenge Series, she complimented Hagyard's approach to the Kentucky Horse Shows and their inclusion of a $30,000 Leading Rider Bonus for the highest-netting rider. "We don't have many series that offer some sort of bonus anymore," she explained. "It could be a car, it could be money, it doesn't matter - I think that this is a fabulous thing that Hagyard has done, because we, as riders, would like to have goals. This is great. Now I'm riding for the series, and it's really nice. You don't see that anymore. You'd win a grand prix, you go to the next grand prix, and this really ties things together, not only for the sponsor, but for the owners and for the riders as well."

On August 10, competition reached mid-point in the Kentucky Summer Classic with the start of the $5,000 1.40m open jumper class at the picturesque Kentucky Horse Park, future home of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Cara Cheska, a resident of Waukesha, WI, was fourth to tackle another challenging course designed by Richard Jeffery, with scoring determined by a timed first round with an immediate jump off. Cheska completed the jump-off in 39.516 seconds. Her ride would become the last in a streak of three clean rounds with riders progressing to the jump-off.

The first of the streak was started by Michael Grinyer of Campbellville, ON, aboard his horse Alcatraz. The pair posted a time of 41.978 seconds and took the early lead. Marilyn Little, a resident of Frederick, MD, would follow his performance with Tinkerbelle, owned by Raylyn Farms & The Fairway Group. Unfortunately the pair went off-course after forgetting jump 11 and were eliminated. With 12 horses to go, their effort would remain good enough for third place. Cheska posted the last of this morning's clean rounds when she took to the course next aboard her own mount King, a handsome 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood by Nimmerdor.

Cheska was surprised at the lack of riders surviving the first round. "There weren't very many clear today were there? On the other hand, that's Richard Jeffrey for you. You can walk the track and think 'Oh this seems easy,' but he is so good that something will always catch someone - it's unusual for him to have a single rail down. Usually horses will have rails down all over the place, and those kind of courses catch you off guard. His designs have great technicality; he's got a really great ability to make nice courses without making them huge and scary."

The pair completed their first round and jump-off without a bump, and although Cheska admits she had initially entered the class as a warm-up for the $40,000 Kentucky Classic Grand Prix, she was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. "I thought he was fast enough," said Cheska. "I thought he could win, but I thought for sure that more would have made it to a jump-off round. Aaron (Vale) unfortunately had a rail in the first round. He for sure would have been faster; I was definitely beatable. I just went smooth and fast - I didn't want to run him off his feet before the grand prix tomorrow."

On August 11, the flagship event of the week-long Kentucky Summer Classic kicked off at the park with the start of the Kentucky Classic Grand Prix. A field of 35 top competitors from across the country fought for $40,000 in total prize money at the event, held in the Sheila C. Johnson Arena at 6:30 p.m. The arena was filled with a total of 13 jumps, which came together to create yet another technically challenging course designed by award-winning course designer Richard Jeffery.

Jeffery's course allowed only seven of the 35 prospects to continue to the jump-off, with top honors eventually being claimed by Southampton, NY, resident Laura Bowery aboard Indy Star II, owned by J. Dimenna & Equuleus Farms. Scoring for the event was held under Table 2 sec. II(a) ruling, with clear rounds progressing to a timed jump-off round. The time allowed for the first round was a brisk 87 seconds, and many early riders were unable to complete the course without time faults.

Clean rounds looked to be a commodity in the first half of the competition, which saw a stretch of seven riders incur four or more faults. Debbie Stephens of Palmetto, FL, piloted All Star to the first clean round of the evening. She was followed six rides later by Frederick, MD, resident Marilyn Little and Unika. Laura Bowery was next to go clean with Indy Star II, followed by four additional teams making it into the seven-rider jump-off.

Third into the jump-off, Bowery set the pace at 37.641 seconds. She noted that she was being careful not to get careless towards the end of the course, which incorporated a very troublesome Hagyard vertical. "I wanted to stay very controlled," explained Bowery. "Sometimes he gets a little bit feisty; I wanted to make sure that didn't happen tonight. He jumped so well in the first round - he was really fresh. I think the slightly cooler weather helped him out a little," she said.

"I angled the first jump. I just thought it was one of those courses where you just shave everything the way you want to. We shaved into number two, then I just got the right distance going into the double, and he was brilliant rolling back into that Hagyard vertical. I think that's where most of the faults came from; the sunlight was bearing right into it, but he just studied it. And for once on the course, I gave him a little time and then just turned on the gas to the last fence. He was just amazing."

Debbie Stephens, Thursday's winner of the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, started things off in the jump-off round with her clear ride of 39.036 seconds, looking as though she might mirror her performance from two days earlier. However, Bowery's effort would wind up being quicker, sending Stephens to a second place finish. Marilyn Little took to the course next with Unika. She had issues with fence 14 and started a nasty trend at the Hagyard vertical, which was added to the course specifically for the jump-off. Little's performance with Unika would earn her fourth place with the quickest jump-off time of 36.804 seconds.

When Bowery took to the arena, the pair clocked a perfect ride at 37.641 seconds, a time which the remaining four horses couldn't match. Ali Wolff's ride with HSM Necoll was nearly fault free until the pair jumped the Hagyard vertical and took a rail with them. Angela Moore of Wellington, FL, would enjoy the third and final clear round of the evening aboard Claus, owned by Stealaway Farm. The pair was too slow to unseat Bowery and Stephens; however, Moore and Claus ended up rounding out the top three with a time of 40.490 seconds. All of the remaining rides would be plagued with issues at the Haygard vertical, which was the only jump to cause problems in the tie breaker.

Bowery, who has been attending shows at the Kentucky Horse Park for over a decade, explains how special the venue has become for her. "I love Kentucky," she said. "I was here in 1999 for the Pan American Trials, and I won the trials here. That's when I got a spot to go on the team and go to Europe. I came back in 2001 and now enjoy a great group of students, young young riders that I just think this is the perfect place for. It's such an educational park. It's just a great two weeks, so it's been just a great trip all around for me and for my students."

On August 12, show jumping competition came to an end in the Johnson Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park with the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic.

Finishing up with top awards in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic was Ali Wolff of New Albany, OH, who put in a compelling performance aboard her multiple mounts, Hertel Landmann and Residenz. Her trips took her all the way to a first and third place finish, respectively.

Course designer for the Johnson Arena this week was Richard Jeffery, who built on his reputation for first-class designs with a technically challenging course of 12 numbered jumps with two combinations. Though the water element was cause for two eliminations, fences throughout the entire course wound up being problematic for a number of horses. The final tally finished up at five eliminations and one retirement out of the field of 27 starting teams.

Five completed the course without a rail down within the time allowed of 85 seconds and progressed to the jump-off round. For the first time this week, the tie breaker saw a rider come back with multiple mounts when Wolff took Residenz and Hertel Landmann through clean initial rounds, with plenty of time to spare. The fourth ride of the day saw Cara Cheska, a resident of Waukesha, WI, clip the water element for the third trip in a row. The course continued to prove difficult for riders, and Cheska's quick time around the course of 80.268 seconds remained the fastest four-fault round. Only three of 27 would manage a four-fault completion.

Five riders came back for the shortened seven-obstacle jump-off set, which brought back competitors in the same order as their first round performances. Wolff came in first with her own horse Hertel Landman. The pair set an impressive, faultless pace at 37.287 seconds. Unfortunately her quicker second round with Blacklick Bend Farm's entry Residenz, who went fourth in the jump-off order, incurred a rail down in the middle of the course and landed her in third place.

Alex Parish was second to go in the jump-off and stopped the timers with a clear round at 37.638 seconds, a mere four-tenths of a second behind Wolff's winning time. The three remaining trips all took rails down along the way, giving Parish second place with her clean round aboard Alexander Farm's Kadorijke.

Samantha Tuerk of Wellington, FL, went third on her horse Loraine 18 and brought down three rails, totaling a 12-fault effort. Wolff followed with her four-fault performance earning her third, while Callie Bass entered next and rounded out the top-five with her horse Zorro's Precision MBA. Bass accrued four faults in 37.490 seconds.

Wolff's quick time aboard Hertel Landmann held up for the win and earned her the top spot in the victory gallop; her speedy four-fault performance with Residenz resulted in a third place finish.

Wolff has been coming to the Kentucky Horse Park for their world-class summer horse shows for countless years. She explained why the venue has become so appealing, "It's probably the only horse show that I've been showing at consistently my whole life. It's only three hours away. I live in Ohio, so it's about the closest good horse show for us as well. I think it's great. I love how big it is, especially all the fields and pastures - we're in a great location here." Eighteen-year-old Wolff will leave Kentucky with a check for $3,000 after her first and third place finishes.

With so few riders making it into the jump off, and Wolff comprising nearly half the qualified entries, she explained how she prepared for Jeffery's difficult course. "I did Spruce [Meadows] this summer with Hertel, and I think that really got me prepared for anything. Palm Beach too, they have really technical courses there, along with really great course designers. Today wasn't as high as it was really technical," she said. "As long as I just kept the pace consistent and did everything smoothly, I knew I'd be fine, that's what made it a clean round for me. Instead of jerking my horse and sitting strides, we just kept things organized." Wolff arrived at the Kentucky Horse Park early this week after coming off an individual fourth place finish last week in Lexington, VA, at the North American Junior and Young Riders Championships.

Hunter Highlights Wednesday through Friday

On August 9, 2007, the professional hunter divisions concluded at the Kentucky Summer Classic Horse Show. With extremely hot temperatures and humid conditions, the Stonelea Arena launched into action Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m.

In the First Year Green Working Hunters, Walk The Line and Sandy Ferrell triumphed for two blue ribbons over fences. Added to their fourth place under saddle and two third place ribbons from the day before, the pair took home the championship ribbon. Walk The Line is owned by DHS Farms of Westonville, OH.

"The courses were nice today," commented Ferrell after her win. "Glenn Moody always makes rideable, easy courses. I have to say that under the heat, it made it nice for everybody. Walk The Line rode like a million bucks today. He was really soft and slow; he went great. He made my job easy today."

The reserve champion rosette for the First Year Greens was pinned on the bridle of Say It Right. Kelley Farmer piloted Say It Right for Debbi Kelly of Whitehall, MD. Farmer and her mount won a first, two seconds, and a fourth place.

The Green/Regular Conformation Hunter division wrapped up as well, and Rick Fancher guided Grandeur to the tricolor. Fancher and Grandeur, owned by Dawn Fogel of Louisville, KY, captured two first places on Wednesday and second and third on Thursday. Compliment and Ferrell earned the reserve championship with two firsts, a second, and a fourth. Ferrell rode Compliment for Stephanie Riggio of New York, NY.

Ferrell was victorious once again in the Second Year Green Working Hunter division. She showed Breitling, another mount owned by Riggio, for top placings, securing another division championship. Breitling finished first and second over fences on Wednesday, and on Thursday, the horse took third and fourth over fences and won the under saddle. Fancher came home with the reserve championship after he rode Crossroads to first and fourth Wednesday and received two seconds and a third Thursday afternoon. Crossroads is owned by Mary Jane King of Town & Country, MD.

The Regular Working Hunters were next in the order, and Michael Dorman finished with the top tricolor aboard Just James. The day before, the duo picked up second and third place ribbons, and they moved up on Thursday for two wins over fences and first place under saddle. Just James is owned by Bonnie Lee Mandich of Miami Lakes, FL. The horse trains with Ronnie Beard at Wyndmont Farm in Wellington, FL.

"Just James is a horse that we bought when he was a three foot hunter," reported Beard. "Some friends of mine brought him over from France to show him at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida. We bought him that year, and Michael has developed him. This is his second year as a four foot horse."

Beard stated, "He's always consistent. He's a real good guy, and he always tries. He's small, but he has a huge jump. The courses rode easily for him. Even though he's a small horse, he has a huge stride and he just walks the lines. I think both weeks here have been excellent. They've done a really nice job with the courses here."

Beard pointed out that he enjoys his yearly visits to the Kentucky Horse Park. "We were here for the Country Heir [Horse Shows], and we usually do a couple of these and the one again later in the fall. We've been coming here for quite a few years, and I think it's probably the finest facility that we have right now to show at. I think it's very well managed, and they try very hard. The people are very nice, and they put a lot of effort into it."

Reserve honors in the Regular Working Hunters went to Jenny Miller and Magic Darco, owned by Anne Koch of Citra, FL. Miller's horse ranked first and second in earlier classes and came away with three second place ribbons Thursday afternoon.

On August 10, junior hunters completed their divisions in the Stonelea Arena at the Kentucky Summer Classic. The Small Junior 15 and Under Hunters started off the morning at 7:30 a.m., and cooler temperatures relieved exhibitors from the previous day's excessive heat.

Jennifer Waxman and Zoom were the first pair to master the courses designed by Glenn Moody. Waxman, who resides in Chagrin Falls, OH, piloted Zoom to two first place finishes over fences and a fourth under saddle. Added to their first and fourth places from the day before, their high ribbons secured them the top tricolor. Reserve champion in the Small Junior 15 and Under Hunters was pinned on the bridle of Tobasco, owned by Dunwalke LLC. Ridden by Alexandra Thornton of Bedminster, NJ, Tobasco won a first and three seconds in addition to the reserve.

The Large Junior 15 and Under Hunters were next on the schedule, and Katie Dinan guided her new horse Allejandros to the championship. Dinan of New York, NY, captured first and second place ribbons on Friday and first and third places in earlier classes.

"I just got him," said 14-year-old Dinan of her mount. "I got him earlier this summer, but this is only my third show with him. I love him! He's a lot of fun to ride and has a big stride. He was really good today." She commented, "The courses rode well today. The handy hunter course was cool because it was kind of unusual, and it was nice to jump around. I want to be sure to thank my trainers Tim and Kelly Goguen, who help me with my horse, and Stephen Weiss, who trains me in the jumpers."

The reserve championship rosette for the younger Large Juniors went to Cool Magic and Taylor Kain of Lake Worth, FL. Kain showed her mount for ADBF Inc. of Miami Beach, FL.

Katherine Newman of Upperville, VA, took double tricolors in the Large Junior 16-17 Hunters aboard Nairobi and Due North. She catch-rode Nairobi for trainers Nora and Thomas Morgan and for the owner, Kimberly Wang. The gelding came away with a first and two seconds on Friday, in addition to first and second places from earlier classes, and sealed the division championship. Due North, owned by Cloverleaf Farm, was another catch-ride for Newman, and the duo also received first and second in earlier classes. They pinned first, second and third on Friday and earned the reserve championship.

In the Small Junior 16-17 Hunters, Kels Bonham and Urlala were presented the championship after they pinned first, fourth, and fifth on Friday and first and third in Thursday's classes. Bonham and her mount were champions last week as well at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show.

"My horse felt a little tired today," said Bonham, "because this is my fourth week showing. But she came out today and was fantastic. She jumped really nice, and she was so obedient in the handy hunter [class]. It was great."

Newman was awarded another reserve tricolor in the older Small Juniors for her rides with Corvet Z. Owned by Manhattan Mortgage of New York, NY, Corvet Z won a first, two seconds, a third and a fifth.

On Sunday, August 12, the Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions wrapped up for championships in the Stonelea Arena. In the younger division, Clara Lindner of Cincinnati, OH, topped the charts with her two mounts and came away with double tricolors.

On Saturday, Lindner piloted Hush to first place over fences in the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters, and her second horse, In The Black, jogged behind Hush for the red ribbon. In the second over fences class, Hush pinned second and In The Black went home with seventh place. Sunday afternoon, Hush earned blue ribbons once again in the first over fences and the under saddle. He also won third place in the second over fences class of the day and was awarded the overall division championship. In The Black took third and first over fences, trotted to fifth place under saddle, and received the reserve championship ribbon. Both horses are owned by All Seasons Farm LLC of Wellington, FL.

"In The Black is eight-years-old," reported Lindner about her horses. "He's actually my mom's horse. She got him last year after Tampa and she's been busy, so I kind of took over the reins on him. He's been great and a lot of fun. Hush is seven-years-old this year, and I just got him at the beginning of Florida. He's quite green and is really coming along."

"They were both really good today," she said. "Normally we have to work them a little harder (before showing), but it's so hot out that you can almost go from stall to ring, and they're perfect. They were both excellent. Yesterday they were good too. I was a little bit rusty because I hadn't ridden them in about a month. I had a hard rub with one of them, but for the most part it was good."

In the Amateur-Owner 35 and Older Hunters, Chris Brown won the championship with Carpaccio for the second week in a row. The pair won first and second on Saturday and captured first and second Sunday as well. They also picked up fourth place under saddle. Brown resides in Oakland, NJ.

"It's scary!" laughed Brown about being champion for two consecutive weeks at the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows. "I can't believe I could do that two weeks in a row and find that many jumps in a row!" He related, "The courses were great. I loved the course designer this week. They always have beautiful jumps here, and they make it appealing to the horses and riders to go out there and do their job. That's what I try to do every time, so it's great."

He continued, "When I go out there, I focus on energy and staying focused in my own brain and giving him time to see the jump and get his eye on it. He's a little young and green still, so I kind of have to let him know and give him enough time so that he knows where he is. I work on that and just knowing where I am at all times. I don't get nervous; I get excited. That's my problem," he smiled. "I get too excited. My summer has been great. We've done a lot of horse shows down here. Our horses live here in Kentucky, so I commute back and forth from New Jersey, and I just love it down here. The summer has been great."

Acappella and Mary Jane King of Town & Country, MO, were presented with reserve championship honors in the older Amateur-Owners. The duo received two firsts, a second, and a third place.

After a week of sunny skies and warm temperatures, the Kentucky Summer Classic has officially concluded at the Kentucky Horse Park. Course designer Glenn Moody excelled with his tracks, and the event was another successful show produced by Kentucky Horse Show, LLC.


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